Constitutional supremacy reaffirmed

Stately jubilation of 23rd March, 2018 redoubled when the honorable Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan, pledged holistic determination before the nation that as long as he looks conspicuous at the top of judicial hills in the fifth largest democracy of the world, he guaranteed the continuity of constitutional supremacy. Promptly reacting to the extra-constitutional suggestion of Judicial Martial Law, the honorable CJ loudly defined the futuristic plan strictly in congruence of the constitution, which disallowed the same either from the judiciary or someone else, prior to the Elections 2018. The honorable CJP authoritatively made it explicit that he and his fellow judges have made a solemn pledge to protect the constitution; thus democracy.

His forceful message to those who suggest extra-constitutional arrangements prior to the forthcoming elections removed all doubts and apprehensions dominating the soul and body of curious minds, who see the future of democracy always in doldrums oscillating between the syndromes of ‘uncertainty and certainty’. As fear and apprehension about constitutional form of government disappoint the people, they withdraw from playing a role for nourishment of democratic culture; thus, they waste open opportunity of choosing their peoples for making their government. The brunt of a lack of interest of the people to avail their plebiscite right is extremely injurious to the positive growth of civil society i.e. a cardinal nurturers of participatory electorates. The unpredictable future of democracy leads the people to withdraw from democratic contests. When majority of the peoples enjoy the day of elections as holiday, only fools and rascals are free to decide the fate of the people. For the global watchdogs of democratic world have made mandatory for all democratic countries to create optimism, confidence and hope among the people for the democratic system. If such countries fail in this regard, they fail democracy. Historically, a failed democracy is more dangerous to a state than that of the stable dictatorship.

When a nation state recklessly gets involved in global politics, a dangerous situation within the national boarders emerges wherein national politics rotates all around upheavals, gimmicks and chicanery, promoting extra-constitutional solutions of the challenges. History tells us that there is no speedy and short cut to the solution of any challenge. Better tomorrow comes only after stringent implementation of law, indiscriminately. When a nation is carried away with the aggressive tide of manipulated circumstances, the admitted rules of law, code of conduct and supremacy of constitution become trivial subjects. Only whims and swings of moods of politics overshadow the verdicts and lessons of history, killing the nationalistic prudence and approach. A crucial time arrives when a nation is drifted into non-practical or failed ideas dominating the national politics. By the law of nature, a right solution of the right problem is a key to success. A wise state never wages a war with neighbors to arrest the internal uprisings. Similarly, no state can ensure internal stability and peace by creating clashes alongside the boarders. It is an admitted principle of history that internal weaknesses create conducive environment for external attacks. Therefore, a nation state, first of all, must streamline her house facing mess and disarray, which are the effects of ignored or hidden causes.

A Misled state is vulnerable to commit two kinds of blunder: one, it develops clashes within its boundaries, on one hand, and two, it enters into conflict with external world, on the other hand. One blunder contributes the other. A nation in wrong management of the crisis gives birth to a new series of crisis. As a result, the confronting challenges grow manifolds. In order to escape one difficulty, one should refrain to dive into another. To the contrary, the same perilous situation emerge inevitable as it looks confronting our country, today.

Envisaging the gravity of the suggestion for extra-constitutional reinforcement, the honorable CJP kills all the rumors creating doubts about the supremacy of the constitution. This forceful message has, indeed, increased the level of trust of the people on the process of perennial transfer of power defined in inviolable constitutional provisions. Nation states across the globe are today passing through fast revolving transition that has made every nation vulnerable to unpredictability. Particularly, the post-cold world war era has witnessed unexpected change in forms of governments which was quite difficult to imagine, prior to 1990s. However, the wind of change left a loud and clear message for the contemporary world: that the 21st century is an era for rule of law and participatory democracy, well defined in the constitution. The states resisting the spirit of age would face a lot of difficulties in their peaceful survival. The CJP’s assertive emphasis on the supremacy of the constitution was a call for bowing before the command of time and age. If we desire a victory in war of challenges, we will have to acknowledge the rule of law which provides time-tested remedies to all kinds of ills and vices.

Before us are the success stories of the marvelous democracies such as Demark, Norway, Sweden and even Ireland that have totally abandoned the previous lawlessness dominating their national life since centuries, as they evolved from savagery to civility. Prior to 1945, these nations were proclaimed warriors and wandering plunderers but today are privileged to be declared as top 10 democracies of the world. The only thing they ensured during the last 8 decades is the supremacy of constitution and rule of law. As they succeeded in this regards, their national life became easier for themselves and follow-able precedence for rest of the world. They have attained the stature the only world power America would have to reach after covering a long distance. For these reasons, many other states have designed their national agenda; keeping in view the practices adopted by these successful democracies. CJPs message leads us toward this direction. If all the actors of change and continuity in the fifth largest democracy start acting upon a good piece of advice the CJP gave, there look ample chances for creating a new as well as remarkable history of General Elections in 2018. Opposite to it lies a catastrophe looming over our heads.


The writer is EX-Director General (Translation), Senate of Pakistan).

Mushtaq Ahmed

Mushtaq Ahmed

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